A children's poem written by the late Laureate Ted Hughes and discovered only last year by his widow, Carol, is to be published by Thames & Hudson for the first time this autumn.
Timmy the Tug was originally written and illustrated by Jim Downer, an exhibition designer and a housemate of Hughes in the 1950s. The book was apparently created to impress his future wife that he would be both a good husband and a good father, and Downer showed it to Hughes, who asked if he might provide him with his own version. Downer agreed - but soon afterwards he and Hughes left the house and went their separate ways, Hughes to America with Sylvia Plath. That was the last Downer saw of it until Carol Hughes sought him out last year and, to his delight, he found that his old friend had indeed written the promised verses.
T&H will publish the 40-page book in facsimile this September. Jamie Camplin, Managing Director and acquirer of the book, enthused: 'What a project! The unpublished lost work of one of the best-known poets of all time; the fresh and brilliantly coloured artwork of a virtuoso illustrator; and an exuberant story with the kind of ending everyone loves - happy. Does that spell 'bestseller'? Watch this space.' And how serendipitous that the project should come up in Thames & Hudson's 60th birthday year.
Timmy the Tug tells how Timmy escapes from his moorings on the river and enjoys an adventure on the high seas.